In a statement, Harry’s office said the couple were incredibly grateful for the goodwill they’d been shown and “are keen that as many people as possible benefit from this generosity of spirit”.
“The couple have therefore asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion considers making a donation to charity, rather than sending a wedding gift,” the statement said, AAP reports.
Harry and Markle have selected seven charities, none of which they have direct links to, which they are encouraging people to support.
It’s a gesture that echos the sentimentality of Prince Harry’s late mum Diana, Princess of Wales.
Diana helped break barriers in raising awareness for HIV and performed charity work across the globe – from visiting leprosy hospitals in Indonesia in 1989, to helping to remove landmines in Angolan fields in Africa in 1997.
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The charities selected by Harry and Meghan include the Children’s HIV Association, the Myna Mahila Foundation which helps women in Mumbai’s slums, the Crisis homelessness charity, conservation group Surfers Against Sewage and Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which supports children who have lost a parent while serving in the British military.
“To have been personally chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is an incredible honour for Scotty’s Little Soldiers and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity,” the charity’s founder, Nikki Scott, said.
“Having met Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace last year, I know that the Armed Forces and looking after the children our heroes have left behind is close to his heart.”
Harry, a former army officer and veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, has been a prominent campaigner for military veterans.
The pair’s wedding it set for May 19 at Windsor Castle.